Material windows and working stations. The discourse networks behind skeuomorphic interface in Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Main Article Content

Michał Dawid Żmuda


The article probes the intermedial structure of the skeuomorphic interface in Pathfinder: Kingmaker. The author indicates that intermedia research in game studies is often diachronically limited, focusing on material and semiotic interactions between “old” and “new” media. He proposes to open the field onto historically aware discoursive analysis and bases his method on Friedrich Kittler’s notion of “discourse networks”. This allows him to inspect the game in relation to technologically-founded networks that embody or bring into life specific modes of though and experience. During his analysis, he discovers that the interface design is involved with navigation devices in Late Medieval and Early Renaissance periods, Alberti’s windows as objects through with narrative spaces become visible, isometric modes of objective thinking, industrial and cybernetic notions of control, and the Xerox invention of the computer as a working environment.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Jak cytować
Żmuda, M. D. (2021). Material windows and working stations. The discourse networks behind skeuomorphic interface in Pathfinder: Kingmaker. Images. The International Journal of European Film, Performing Arts and Audiovisual Communication, 29(38), 73-94.
The Structure of Video Games
Biogram autora

Michał Dawid Żmuda, Uniwersytet Rzeszowski, Polska

Michał Dawid Żmuda – dr, adiunkt Uniwersytetu Rzeszowskiego. Absolwent programów Fulbrighta i NCN. Pracował jako asystent badawczy na Comparative Media/Writing Department w MIT oraz w Center for Computer Games Research na IT University of Copenhagen. Obecnie bada graficzne interfejsy użytkownikaoraz interaktywne narracje jako produkty i elementy konkretnych sieci dyskursywnych. ORCID: 0000-0001-9647-6510.


  1. „κυβερνήτης”, in Perseus Digital Library Project,
  2. Alberti L.B., On Painting. A new translation and critical edition, transl. and ed. R. Sinisgalli, New York 2011
  3. Anderson C.U., S.B. Pold, Interface Criticism, Aarhus N 2011
  4. Ash E.H., Navigation techniques and practice in the Renaissance, [in:] The History of Cartography, vol. III, ed. J.B. Harley, D. Woodward, Chicago 1987
  5. Beniger J.R., The Control Revolution. Technological and economical origins of the information society, Cambridge – London 1986
  6. Campbell T., Portolan charts from the late thirteenth century to 1500, [in:] The History of Cartography, vol. I, eds. J.B. Harley, D. Woodward, Chicago 1987
  7. Celiński P., Interfejsy. Cyfrowe technologie w komunikowaniu, Wrocław 2010
  8. Cocozza F., Axonometry: The grip of thought on space – a short survey on the relation between the act of planning and a visionary visualization technique, “Proceedings” 2017, vol. 1, no. 9, <>
  9. Cosgrove D., Geography and Vision. Seeing, imagining and representing the world, London – New York 2008
  10. Edgerton S., Brunelleschi’s mirror, Alberti’s window, and Galileo’s ‘perspective tube’, “Historia Ciencias Saude-manguinhos” 2006, vol. 13, p. 159, DOI
  11. Ensslin A., Literary Gaming, Cambridge – London 2004
  12. Ernst W., Media Archaeography. Method and machine versus history and narrative of media, [in:] Media Archeology. Approaches, applications, and implications, eds. E. Huhtamo, J. Parikka, Berkeley – Los Angeles – London 2011
  13. Foucault M., The Archeology of Knowledge, transl. A.M. Sheridan Smith, New York 1972
  14. Friedberg A., Wirtualne okno. Od Albertiego do Microsoftu, transl. A. Rejniak-Majewska, M. Pabiś-Orzeszyna, Warszawa 2012
  15. Gaudreault A., Marion, P., The Cinema as a model for the genealogy of media, “Convergence” 2002, vol. 8, no. 4. DOI:
  16. Girina I., Video game mise-en-scene remediation of cinematic codes in video games, [in:] Interactive Storytelling. ICIDS 2013. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, eds. H. Koenitz, T.I. Sezen, G. Ferri, Cham 2013
  17. Groppo P., Narrative ludology: intermediality in adventure games, “Em Tese” 2012, vol. 18, no. 3, DOI: 18. 96. 10.17851/1982-0739.18.3.96-108
  18. Hayles N.K., How We Became Posthuman. Virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics, Chicago – London 1999
  19. Huhtamo E., Dismantling the fairy engine. Media archeology as topos study, [in:] Media Archeology. Approaches, Applications, and Implications, Berkeley, Calif., 2011
  20. Interactive Storytelling. ICIDS 2013. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, ed. H. Koenitz, T.I. Sezen, G. Ferri, Cham 2013, <>
  21. Intermediality and Media Change, eds. J. Herkman, T. Hujanen, P. Oinonen, Tampere 2012
  22. Järvinen A., Gran Stylissimo: The audiovisual elements and styles in computer and video games, [in:] Proceedings of Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference, ed. F. Mäyrä. Tampere 2002
  23. Jesper A., God’s eye view, [in:] This Thing Called Theory, eds. T. Stoppani, G. Ponzo, G. Themistokleous, London 2016, e-book Jørgensen I.K.H., Media and games: an intermedial framework, in FDG ‘18: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital
  24. Game, eds. S. Dahlskog, S. Deterding, J. Font, Malmö 2018, <>
  25. King G., Krzywinska T., ScreenPlay. Cinema/videogames/interfaces, London – New York 2002
  26. Kittler F., Discourse Networks 1800/1900, transl. M. Metteer, C. Cullens, Stanford 1990
  27. Kittler F., Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, transl. G. Winthrop-Young, M. Wutz, Stanford 1999, xli
  28. Krikke J., Axonometry: a matter of perspective, “IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications” 2000, vol. 20, no. 4, DOI:
  29. Kubiński P., Gry wideo. Zarys poetyki, Kraków 2016
  30. Lancia R., Narrating built heritage by its own storytelling, “The International Journal of Virtual Reality” 2008, vol. 7, no. 2
  31. Lippitz A., Lost in the static?: Comics in video games, [in:] Intermedia Games – Games Inter Media: Video Games and Intermediality, eds. M. Fuchs, J. Thoss. New York 2019
  32. Manovich L., Software Takes Command, New York – London 2013
  33. Manovich L., The Language of New Media, Cambridge – London 2011
  34. Mueller J., Intermediality, Quo Vadis?: A brief inventory and a road map for six central future research axes, “International Journal of Semiotics and Visual Rhetoric” 2019, vol. 3, DOI:
  35. Ndaliains A., Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment, Cambridge – London 2004
  36. Neitzel B., Performing games: intermediality and videogames, [in:] Handbook of Intermediality, ed. G. Rippl, Berlin – Boston 2015, e-book
  37. Owlcat Games, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Deep Silver, PC game, 2018
  38. Parikka J., Insect Media. An archaeology of animals and technology, Minneapolis, London 2010
  39. Parikka J., What is Media Archeology?, Cambridge 2012
  40. Rajewsky I.O., Intermediality, intertextuality, and remediation: a literary perspective on intermediality, “Intermédialités” 2005, vol. 6, no. 6, DOI: 10.7202/1005505ar
  41. Raupach T., Towards an analysis of strategies of authenticity production in World War II first-person shooter games, [in:] Early Modernity and Video Games, eds. T. Winnerling, F. Kerschbaumer, Newcastle 2014
  42. Schröter J., Discourses and models of intermediality, “CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture” 2011, vol. 13. DOI:
  43. Shannon C., A mathematical theory of communication, “The Bell System Technical Journal” 1948, vol. 27
  44. Siegert B., Cultural Techniques: Grids, Filters, Doors, and Other Articulations of the Real, transl. G. Winthrop-Young, New York 2015
  45. Smith D.C., C. Irby et al., Designing the star user interface, “Human-Computer Interaction” May 1990, <>, accessed: 23.01.2020
  46. Sutherland I.E., Sketchpad: A man-machine graphical communication system, technical report, University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, 2003, <>, accessed: 23.01.2021
  47. The Xerox 8010 speaks your language (brochure), in DigiBarn computer museum, <>, accessed: 23.01.2020
  48. Wellbery D.E., Foreword, [in:] F. Kittler, Discourse Networks 1800/1900, transl. M. Metteer, C. Cullens, Stanford 1990
  49. Wiener N., Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, Cambridge 1985
  50. Wiener N., Men, machines and the world about, [in:] The New Media Reader, ed. N. Wardrip-Fruin, N. Montfort, Cambridge – London 2003
  51. Wiener N., The Human Use of Human Beings. Cybernetics and Society, London 1989
  52. Zhou A., Cybernetics and human-computer interaction: Case studies of modern interface design, in 2014 IEEE Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW), ed. M. Gibbs, Boston 2014, DOI:
  53. Zielinski S., Deep Time of the Media: Toward an archaeology of hearing and seeing by technical means, trans. G. Custance, Cambridge, London 2006